A letter to friends…
Let me start this update by saying I continue to be grateful beyond belief for the many blessings in my life today — on my road of recovery. For those who may not be aware, I went into treatment on December 21, 2009 for drug addiction. Over two months later, I’m doing well in my recovery. I was in rehab for a month of inpatient and partial hospitalization. I returned to work on January 20th with a new lease on life. I completed six weeks of evening outpatient therapy on Monday of last week and will continue a life long road of recovery.
For those of you who have seen my “Step One Video,” you have seen how God was watching over me in the past years. Everything that has happened in my life has prepared me for being where I am today — for learning to “fall in love again” with myself, for who I am, and for who I am becoming. I am reconnecting with close friends and family with whom I’ve grown distance because of my active addiction. I’m rediscovering who I am is — not what I do. I’m not defined by what I do. I’m a human being – not a “human doing.” Quite simply, I’ve been reminded I’m a child of a loving God, here to find and leverage the abundance of life to the best of my abilities. I’ve been blessed with gifts that I have squandered and underutilized — but now I see the possibilities through conversations and in community. For that I am truly grateful. Full stop, no reservations.
Ten days ago on a Friday at 4pm, as expected, I was informed by the local police that a warrant for my arrest had been issued. [The charges relate to a search of my house in December after coming close to committing suicide via a drug overdose, followed by a call to 911 — the event that led to my treatment and recovery.] Although I was glad the police were courteous and notified me of the warrant, I had a rough weekend nonetheless. I found myself running from my feelings and falling into old routines to numb myself. By the grace of God, I didn’t use drugs or drink — but I was in relapse. Spiritually and mentally, I relapsed — this is as much a spiritual and mental disease as it is a physical disease. I didn’t use the tools I’ve learned in recovery to short circuit the cycle soon enough to maintain a healthy, balanced outlook. Thankfully, God didn’t abandon me – nor will He. My devotional reading that morning was about anxiety…”God didn’t bring you this far into recovery to abandon you.” Lesson learned.
I was encouraged to turn myself in. Three days later, on Monday March 1, I did so. I had things arranged with my lawyer and a friend. With gratitude for the speed and simplicity, I was released after being in jail for 4 hours. The judge set an extremely low bail given my charges because I had turned myself in. “If you were going to run, you would have already done it by now,” said he. The only other funny part (well there were lots of little tidbits) — I was actually walked over from the jail to the courthouse for the hearing…outside about a block and half! Had any of my friends been there, I could update my facebook photo with me wearing my little orange jail outfit and handcuffs! But, alas — better to have a good memory than a bad picture! Or in this case — a bad memory instead of a good picture 😉
My next court appearance is in May. With my charges, there are provisions for this being my first offense to have some of that reduced and serve just probation. But, let’s not get ahead of things. It is what it is…I’m at peace…and God’s hand continues to be in my life. For that I’m very thankful. I knew at the time that my actions warrant whatever comes — it’s only by the grace of God that I’ll see less than what’s due. I’ll continue to leave things in His hands and focus my mind and energy on my recovery and helping others.
On Friday March 5th, following my employer’s policy on Substance Abuse, I informed my management and HR of my arrest and the nature of the charges. At 4:30pm that afternoon, after a 19+ year career, I was terminated for violation of that policy because of my arrest. The reason I was given — working for a pharmaceutical company, substance abuse is taken very seriously as it could jeopardize the firm’s reputation. The firm never states in writing there is zero tolerance — but essentially, that’s what I learned. I understand their decision. I don’t agree with the steps they took – but I understand the decision. Ultimately, I am responsible for my actions which led to these consequences. I wish things had turned out otherwise — that other factors would have been taken into consideration relating to my treatment. I’ve been honest with my management and HR since I returned to work on Jan 20th about the possibilities of legal action. I am sad that they lacked the integrity to be equally honest with me about what actions would result should I be arrested. I’m disappointed… angry… and feel betrayed by a company to which I gave many years of faithful and dedicated service. My feelings are all healthy and expected reactions. But for my health, I must work through them — to feel and process them in due time but not hold onto grudges or resentments. Resentment is at the heart of a relapse — at the heart of much addictive behavior — and that I can not afford.
Step 1 teaches me to admit that I’m powerless over my addiction and that my life had become unmanageable. In admitting powerlessness, I must eventually come to the point where I surrender my will and my life to my Higher Power who can and will restore me to sanity. On Friday, I finally understood this on a deeper level and “worked” that first step even harder.
I know my Higher Power will take care of me, as He has demonstrated so clearly over the past months. I have amazing peace amidst this loss because I now more fully understand Step 1. It is through surrendering I find peace. It is through maintaining peace and a connection with my Higher Power, the recovery community and my feelings that I will stay clean and sober…just for today.
I’m grateful for the work that God is doing in my life. I can not ignore my part in these events — my behaviors and choices are at the root of my situation and I’m simply grateful to be where I am today…alive and in recovery. This past weekend, unlike the relapse I had a week ago, I found the strength and courage to use the tools I’ve learned in treatment to get me through each day thus far without a relapse. I am grateful for the people He has placed in my life who support and love me in spite of my humanness. I am grateful for the miracle of life — because today, my being alive is a precious gift that I no longer take for granted. He is doing for me what I was unable to do for myself.
I know who’s in control — as long as I stop hopping in the driver’s seat, I’ll be just fine 😉 I can honestly see this already as a blessing. The timing and circumstances are unfortunate — but from this I will learn much which will only make me stronger. I will spend some time figuring out what is in store for me in this next chapter of life. I pray simply to know God’s will for my life and the strength to carry it out.